The Israeli elections are over and we are now into the period of horse-trading that inevitably is required to build a new coalition for governing the country. Excluding the politicians, however, most Israelis are going about their regular business. The country’s many forward-thinking entrepreneurs continue building new enterprises or expanding their current ones, which will undoubtedly bring huge benefits to the world.
Those living in, or traveling to, far-off locations will definitely appreciate the innovations from first two Israeli companies featured. Starting on dry land, Israel’s Alvarion is deploying its fast wireless broadband service for the benefit of the 7500 residents and workers on the North Slope of Alaska – one of the remotest and harshest places on earth. We then cast off to hear about Station 711 - part of Israel’s RRsat Global Communications Network – which has just launched the latest version of its mobile communications for ships. Its Fleetbroadband gives crews a commercial, operational and personal link to the rest of the world while at sea.
We need to keep moving in order to appreciate Israel’s number one position in the market for Gesture Technology- the latest feature that lets you communicate with your personal computer by waving your hands in front of the built-in camera. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Israeli companies PointGrab and eyeSight revealed their latest deals; PointGrap’s with Samsung’s smart TVs and eyeSight’s with AMD’s new graphics chip. We now increase the speed in order to catch up with the new Chevy Corvette C7 Stingray sports car. The new model is much lighter and stronger than similar vehicles, thanks to the very same dense plastic composite material that protects US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. The material is manufactured by Plasan Sasa, which is based at Kibbutz Sasa in Northern Israel.
China’s fast-moving assembly lines may be producing most of the world’s TV flat screens, but they need Israeli hi-tech equipment to control them. Israel’s Orbotech has just won a contract for $40 million of its latest generation flat-screen control panels for automated optical inspection and array testing. China also needs Israeli help in order to manufacture fertilizer for the crops required to feed its huge population. It has just ordered 660,000 tons of Israeli Potash as part of a 3 million tons agreement (worth $1.2bn) over three years.
Many firms will be able to grow their businesses faster thanks to a new prize-winning application from Israeli start-up KitLocate. The location system lets retailers find shoppers in their area and offer them deals and coupons. Meanwhile, an Israeli biotech is doing a little trading of its own. Alcobra will be the first new listing on NASDAQ by an Israeli life sciences company since 2010. Alcobra's MG01CI medication for ADHD sufferers is currently undergoing a Phase II clinical trial. The non-stimulant treatment is safer than Ritalin and has far fewer side effects than Strattera.
Israel is one of the leading exporters of Clean Technology. Renowned water expert Dr Yoram Oren has been developing nano-filtration membrane separation to purify two of India’s mighty rivers. The Noyyal and the Bhavani have been polluted due to the large-scale discharge of toxic effluents from dyeing units along the river shores. On a more global level, one of Israel’s cleantech companies, Miya, is busy saving water across the world. Its technology locates leaks and is currently saving 600 million liters of water every day in Manila, Philippines. Other projects include the Bahamas, Brazil, Colombia, Puerto Rico and South Africa.
“What about the Arabs?” Firstly, Israel’s Ministry of Science sponsored a conference on “The Role of Research & Development in Economic Development in the Arab Community”. The conference was organized by the NGO Triangle Research & Development Center, which addresses topics affecting the Arab community in Israel. Israel also provides support to those neighbors who display a genuine desire to have peaceful relations with the Jewish State. For example, thirty farmers from Gaza were given permits to enter Israel in order to attend an agricultural exhibition. Ramadan Abu Naja from Gaza said, “We came here to learn about Israeli agriculture. We will take some of the types of produce that we like back with us into Gaza.
Israel’s trade with the world continues to improve as nations come to seek Israeli know-how. For example, Israel’s Fourth International Conference on Drylands, Deserts and Desertification (DDD) drew more than 500 participants from 60 countries. One of its sponsors was the UN, which aims to halt land degradation by 2030. In December, Israel even received a delegation from Mongolia's Ministry of Environment and Green Development to learn about water pollution management and prevention, and land rehabilitation.
Finally, perhaps the strangest recent international event of all must have be the International Belly Dance Festival in Eilat. The world's biggest belly dancing event attracted some 950 dancers from 30 countries – including Turkey, Egypt and Jordan. Maybe, one day, real peace and trade relations with our Middle East neighbors will materialize in an equally unexpected way.
Israel – I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.